Mammals by

Continuing this section, some interesting information about mammals, that is the animals that you might find in hedges and similar areas.

These animals are listed in alphabetical order:

About the Fox:
The Fox or Sionnach / Madra Rua is in many place-names in Ireland e.g. Foxrock in Dublin, Pollnashinnagh in Co Galway or Cloonshannagh, Cloonshinnagh,etc. Also any Irish name with 'maddy' such as Glennamaddy in Cork or 'vaddy' such as Limmavaddy in Derry. The fox is the only wild member of the dog family and is found in almost every part of Ireland. It is noted for its brown-red coat, long muzzle and bushy white tipped tail. The foxes live in woodland areas and can run for long distances, swim well, climb trees and it has a great sense of smell. They may bark three times or vixens may use a scary scream in the breeding season in winter. They excavate underground dens in banks, enlarged rabbit burrows, disused badger setts or under hedges. It is a carnivore and eats rabibts, young hares, brown rats and wood mice.

Frog - Common Frog
About the Common Frog:
Frogs are small amphibious animals with smooth, moist skin, bulging eyes that can see in almost any direction, external eardrums behind the eyes and no tail. Most species have long hind legs that enable them to take long leaps, and webbed feet, making them excellent swimmers. Most frogs, especially males, are quite vocal. As the frogs forces air from the lungs, vocal cords in the voice box, vibrate to make calls distinctive of its species. Frogs prefer to live in moist areas. Frogs burrow in mud to hibernate. Frogs eat small fish, insects, worms and spiders.

About the Hedgehog:
Earliest records are from Waterford so it probably came here with the Normans in the 13th century.Their Irish name is Grainneog which means the 'horrible one' because they roll into a ball when danger is near and it has dark, brown spines with a pale tip. Each spine is replaced after about one year. Place names include Meenagranoge, the 'hedgehog's field' in Co. Donegal. They root around at night seeking slugs, snails and other invertebrates so they are good for your garden but the presence of slug pellets will kill them. They also eat eggs, other mammals, carrion, berries and fruit if available. They are attracted by shrubberies and flowers which provide cover. Their predators are foxes, badgers and cars!

Lizard - Viviparous Lizard
About the Viviparous Lizard:
Ireland's only lizard, the Viviparous lizard or Earc Luachra, is found in all sorts of dry places but they favour sandy or rocky places, particularly near the sea. Insects and other invertebrates that can be caught are the lizard's food. Like other animals that are found against backgrounds of variable pattern, its subtle tones and markings render it inconspicuous in its environment. It is generally yellowish brown with irregular blackish markings along the length of its body but it can look greyish or greenish in different situations. The skin is beautifully segmented with scales. The young are produced live hence its name and not from eggs as is normal with reptiles. On being grabbed by the tail the lizard can escape by detaching itself from its tail.

About the Mink:
Minks live in wooded areas near streams and live in burrows or under roots of trees. They have partly webbed hind feet and are good swimmers. Minks feed on fish, mice, rats and birds. The fur of the wild mink varies from light brown to a deep blackish brown. Their fur is highly prized and today more than half the mink used in the fur industry comes from animals raised on mink farms. They over-populate the areas they live in and can cause damage to farm animals.

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